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Monday, September 1, 2014

Canning Pickled Bean Salad: One bean!

When I was younger we used to visit my Grandmother in Virginia. She lives on the lake, and we would go swimming, visit orchards, and go to Kroger. She would always buy this 3 bean salad from Kroger (which was a magical store to me as a child, because we didn't have stores like this back home), and I loved it, well, I loved most of it. I love 3 bean salad, minus the lima beans and kidney beans. So, the vining green beans are doing great. Sadly, the wax beans have been done for a month now. So, today, I'm making ONE BEAN salad ;) I actually prefer it this way, so, no harm, no foul.

Once again, we are going to start by heating up our canning pot, make sure there is enough water in there to cover all the jars by at least one inch above the lids so that we are able to get heat transfer all around the jars. Again, I'm using tongs, jar grabbers, a funnel, a ladle, a bowl for my lids, rings, jars, etc.

Once the canning pot is ready, bring another pot of water to a boil.

Cut up approximately 1 pound of green beans (I use scissors to snip the ends and make the beans 1 to 1 1/2 inches long), slice 2 stalks of celery, slice one onion, and cut one green pepper up into slices.

Seriously, I love scissors when preparing beans. Or if you prefer, you could just snap the ends and then snap the beans in half. It's important to choose nice fresh beans (I picked mine last night).

The pepper I also grew, but the celery and onion came from the store, it's ok. Can't grow it all right?

Go ahead and put these ingredients into the pot of boiling water. We will let them boil for about 8 minutes. In the mean time, grab another pot. Add  the following

2 1/2 cups sugar
1 Tablespoon mustard seed
1 Tablespoon celery seed
4 Tablespoons of canning/pickling salt
3 cups of white vinegar (5% acidity)
1 1/4 cup water

It's important to use canning/pickling salt here, as iodized salt can leave the liquid cloudy as it sits in the jar. It's more of an aesthetic thing than anything, but I would prefer not to take my chances of ruining the flavor either.

Most vinegars you find on the shelf these days will be 5% acidity, but if it says anything else, find a different brand/bottle.

You can change the ratios of the vegetables in this recipe without causing adverse reaction. But it is very important to NOT change the ratio of sugar/vinegar/water. This is a tested pickling liquid from the Ball Blue Book, and it ensures there is enough acidity to prevent botulinum toxin. I need to type more about this in the future...I know, but for now, know that if you use the ratios in this pickling liquid, Botulism cannot form deadly toxins in your jar. YAY!

Put your jars in your canner to heat up, we will need them soon.

Bring this liquid to a boil. If the beans get done boiling before this liquid is simmering, it's ok, just remove the beans from heat and cover with a lid. 

Once the liquid is boiling, dump the water off the beans. Pull your jars out of the canner, dump some water from your canner onto your bowl full of lids. 

Use your funnel to put your green bean mix into the jars up to about 1/2 inch from the top, then add your pickling liquid, to 1/2 inch from the top of the jar.

Now I use the back end of a plastic spoon to knock out any air bubbles from the jar and top off with more pickling liquid.

Now wipe the rims of the jars with a damp cloth to remove any debris/pickling liquid. Add the lids that are currently sitting in the bowl of hot water. Add the rings, finger tighten, and put them in the canner.

Now, for the pickled three bean salad recipe that I have adjusted to fit our tastes (by removing the lima beans, and leaving out the wax beans that I don't have), says to process in the canner for 15 minutes. Again, we are at 5000 feet above sea level, so we need to add ten minutes. So I put my pint jars into the canner for 25 minutes. Do not start the time until the canner comes back up to a boil. When the canner starts boiling again, start your timer. When the timer goes off, shut off the burner, remove the lid to the canner, and remove the jars. Don't forget to set them either on a baking rack or onto a towel to protect your canner and prevent jar breakage (cold counter, hot jar=bad mix). 

As always, once the jars have cooled, remove the rings, test for a good seal, label with contents and date, and put with your other canned goods. 

I love to put this in the kids' lunches, as it's a yummy way to get more vegetables into their lunches. These would also be a great addition to a salad. But my favorite way to eat them is straight out of the jar. 

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